Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

From Anne Lamott, the New York Times-bestselling author of Help, Thanks, Wow, comes the book we need from her now: How to bring hope back into our lives. "I am stockpiling antibiotics for the Apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen," Anne Lamott admits at the beginning of Almost Everything. Despair and uncertainty sur...

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Title:Almost Everything: Notes on Hope
Author:Anne Lamott
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Almost Everything: Notes on Hope Reviews

  • Neanderthal

    Anne Lamott loosely builds ALMOST EVERYTHING around a list she decides to make for her grandson and niece about everything she knows about almost everything, ideas that she thinks apply to almost everyone and that might help them someday, a list that she wishes her father had written for her. She writes humorously and lovingly about topic like serenity, food, hate, God, "famblies," and hope.

    (I received pre-publication access thanks to Edelweiss.)

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    An Evening with Anne Lamott

    October 19, 2018

    St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Houston

    People are fanning themselves in the church. The air isn't on, it's a packed house, and it is a warm October night in Houston. I dare to ask to sit in an open pew less than fifty feet from the pulpit.

    I am surrounded by people with strong political and spiritual views, and we talk about important things while we wait.

    And then she arrives. It's Anne Lamott, and she seems different than the last time I heard her s

    An Evening with Anne Lamott

    October 19, 2018

    St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Houston

    People are fanning themselves in the church. The air isn't on, it's a packed house, and it is a warm October night in Houston. I dare to ask to sit in an open pew less than fifty feet from the pulpit.

    I am surrounded by people with strong political and spiritual views, and we talk about important things while we wait.

    And then she arrives. It's Anne Lamott, and she seems different than the last time I heard her speak, ten or so years back, stronger, more confident, even...dare I say it?...happy. She has a new book.

    "I accidentally wrote this book on hope. It was originally called Doomed," she tells us. We laugh. That's one thing we adore about Anne Lamott: she dares to be honest, and she finds a way to be honest while also making us laugh.

    "I'm as scared and angry as everyone else, but one of the blessings of being a little bit older is that being scared and angry doesn't last as long. And you don't always remember why you are scared and angry."

    Anne Lamott is here to share what she has learned in this life with us. She has put everything she knows in this little book, Almost Everything, written for her young niece and grandson:

    "We are not alone."

    "Love gives me hope."

    "I spent a lot of years unlearning everything I'd been taught as a child."

    "All truth is paradox."

    We listen to Anne. We laugh with Anne. She reads a few bits from her book, but mostly she talks, seemingly extemporaneously. A few brave souls pose questions to Anne. One woman tells her that when she was at her lowest, in an abusive relationship, she saw Anne on tv, and she asked herself, "Who is this woman?" and she got Anne's books and she changed her life. "Could you give me a hug?" the woman asks Anne. Anne says yes.

    This book is a hug from Anne to the world.

  • Stacey Camp

    **5++ Goodreads Stars++

    Oh Anne Lamott, how do you manage to rip my heart into pieces and then mend it ever so carefully back together? This is what Lamott calls a paradox or conundrum, that life brings both immense joy and heart-wrenching pain, pain that, at times, is unbea

    **5++ Goodreads Stars++

    Oh Anne Lamott, how do you manage to rip my heart into pieces and then mend it ever so carefully back together? This is what Lamott calls a paradox or conundrum, that life brings both immense joy and heart-wrenching pain, pain that, at times, is unbearable. Take her discussion of having children:

    Lamott's

    is meandering and rambling in the most poignant way, a method of writing only Lamott can get away with. It is structured around themes that she wants to share with her grandchild, stories she wants to pass on that she deems critical for one's survival in a brutal world.

    As with Lamott's other books, I highlighted nearly everything. So many beautiful passages, so much wisdom that has come from the pain that Lamott has known well. This is not a pain she monopolizes. Rather, this book is about how pain is part of the human condition. And because it can happen to any one of us, Lamott believes that we must find peace and happiness every single day. That joy cannot come from a number on a scale or your paystub, though:

    Lamott argues that happiness is not found in materiality but something that is omnipresent, waiting to be found in the most mundane places. There is also beauty in grief and beauty in tragedy, though she certainly does not argue that there is a rhyme or reason as to who gets saddled with grief in this universe. Grief is not a lesson to learn, forced upon those who have sinned.

    How do we cultivate this love of the quotidian? Through play, observing the world around you, through helping others, and, of course, through reading:

    As always, Lamott also has some brilliant things to say about writing:

    Lamott won't give you easy answers about life in this book, but she will give you a lot to chew on. She challenges you to be reflexive, to examine what's holding you back in life and what you need to move forward - that these things are not a one size fits all sort of solution. We need to dig deep and find that with which we struggle: confront it and learn to live with it the best we can.

    Above all else, she asks her reader to sit with the world: watch it, learn from it, listen to it, breathe it in. For

    If you haven't figured it out by now, I loved this book. I love nearly everything Lamott writes (

    is one of my all-time favorite books!). Thank you to Edelweiss, Anne Lamott, and Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House for an advanced reader copy of

    For more of my book reviews visit me here:

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  • Angie

    Anne Lamott at her best. By her account, she's compiling what she knows that's worth knowing for her grandson, a collection of observations and advice. It's also a guide to staying sane in a crazy world, which she acknowledges in a sideways manner here and there, but doesn't focus on. It's intensely personal and deeply loving. There are weaknesses here and there; for instance, I don't know that I can recommend her health advice, but it does come from a place of reassurance, and she's trying to g

    Anne Lamott at her best. By her account, she's compiling what she knows that's worth knowing for her grandson, a collection of observations and advice. It's also a guide to staying sane in a crazy world, which she acknowledges in a sideways manner here and there, but doesn't focus on. It's intensely personal and deeply loving. There are weaknesses here and there; for instance, I don't know that I can recommend her health advice, but it does come from a place of reassurance, and she's trying to get people to relax and not worry so much, so I think she's not doing any harm. She has a lot of experience feeling inadequate and talking herself into living on, so she's able to do the same for her readers. And her writing is beautiful and flowing. I read this as an balm after finishing a rough read (

    ), and it worked wonders.

    I got a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss to review.

  • Kelly Hager

    This isn't going to be a normal review and I think that's OK. You already know if you should read this or not; hopefully you've already read it anyway.

    I read this book in one day, most of it after learning a man took a gun and murdered at least 10 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It wasn't a good day, but I trusted that Anne Lamott was what I needed to be reading.

    For years now, a new Anne Lamott book will emerge at the time I most need to read it and that is definitely true this time, as wel

    This isn't going to be a normal review and I think that's OK. You already know if you should read this or not; hopefully you've already read it anyway.

    I read this book in one day, most of it after learning a man took a gun and murdered at least 10 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It wasn't a good day, but I trusted that Anne Lamott was what I needed to be reading.

    For years now, a new Anne Lamott book will emerge at the time I most need to read it and that is definitely true this time, as well. It's very easy to sink into fear and distrust and frankly dislike---why don't people care about the things I care about? Why are people posting recipes and stupid videos on Facebook while supporters of someone they voted for are murdering people?---but she reminds me to breathe, stay the course and listen to hope.

    One of the things that she constantly repeats is that grace bats last. This is an awful and a scary time, but it isn't forever. There are more of us, and we will ultimately win. We will especially win if we don't become the people that we're currently afraid of.

    This book feels like an incredibly needed conversation with a good friend, and it made me laugh and ugly cry in equal measure.

    Highly recommended.

  • Diane Barnes

    "A friend once said that at the end of his drinking, he was deteriorating faster than he could lower his standards, and this began happening to me recently with hate".

    " I don't know if my last day here will be next Thursday or in twenty years. Whenever that day comes, I want to be living, insofar as possible, in the Wendell Berry words "Be joyful though you have considered all the facts", and I want to have had dessert".

    " The world is Lucy teeing up the football".

    I read Anne Lamott because of

    "A friend once said that at the end of his drinking, he was deteriorating faster than he could lower his standards, and this began happening to me recently with hate".

    " I don't know if my last day here will be next Thursday or in twenty years. Whenever that day comes, I want to be living, insofar as possible, in the Wendell Berry words "Be joyful though you have considered all the facts", and I want to have had dessert".

    " The world is Lucy teeing up the football".

    I read Anne Lamott because of quotes like these, and at least twelve other passages that I highlighted. It's like having lunch with a cynical, crazy friend, who happens to think just like you. She talks about politics (quote #1) books and authors (quote #2) and just surviving the world day by day (quote #3). She writes about dealing with families, food and eating, insecurities, everything that every one of us deal with every single day, and doing it with some measure of hope and joy. Our lunch was a short one, but left me feeling happy to have reconnected with my old friend. Until next time, it'll have to do.

  • Diane S ☔

    Reading Lamott is a balm to my spirit and my soul. She writes about so many of the things I think about. In this book she writes the things she wants her grandson to know, including the paradoxes of life.

    "Here is so much going on that flattens us, that is huge, scary, or simply appalling. We're doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over caffeinated.

    And yet, outside my window, yellow roses bloom, and little kids horse around, making a joyous racket."

    She writes with humor, with Grace and with a huge am

    Reading Lamott is a balm to my spirit and my soul. She writes about so many of the things I think about. In this book she writes the things she wants her grandson to know, including the paradoxes of life.

    "Here is so much going on that flattens us, that is huge, scary, or simply appalling. We're doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over caffeinated.

    And yet, outside my window, yellow roses bloom, and little kids horse around, making a joyous racket."

    She writes with humor, with Grace and with a huge amount of understandinganding and common sense. I read her and find myself highlighting so many passages. I always end up buying her books because they always include so many thoughts, so much encouragement about life, fear, hurts, but always also reminders of looking for the positive. Her books are books that one can read over and over and marvel at something newly discovered with each reading.

    "But all truth really is paradox, and this turns out to be a reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change ,and something else about it will also be true. So paradox is an invitation to go deeper into life, to see a bigger screen, instead of the nice, safe lower left qundrant where you see work, home and country. Try a wider reality, through curiousity, awareness and beath. Try actually being here. What a concept"

    She reminds me to look around, cherish what I have, find hope in the darkness, and to realize that I can't control everything, can't change people. They need to do it for themselves, and even in the blackest of times, there is light to be found.

    ARC from Edelweiss.

  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Before Anne Lamott's 61st birthday, she decided to make a list for her grandson and niece of everything she knows that could apply to almost everyone hoping that it will one day help them in their lives.

    What we get is a touching and random but poignant look at Lamott's views on everything from life, death, faith

    Before Anne Lamott's 61st birthday, she decided to make a list for her grandson and niece of everything she knows that could apply to almost everyone hoping that it will one day help them in their lives.

    What we get is a touching and random but poignant look at Lamott's views on everything from life, death, faith, family, writing and politics (but thankfully not too much because I can only deal with politics in very small doses these days) through personal experience and observation.

    I enjoy when a writer can take the everyday and weave its truth and simplicity into words.  I like reading the random thoughts and observations of others when it is written so beautifully and in a way that seems to include the entire population.

    Insightful, honest, and true to her previous work,

    is a touching look at life in general with the wisdom Lamott feels is necessary to pass on to the next generation.

    Thanks to Riverhead Books and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for my honest review.  

    is scheduled for release on October 16, 2018.

    For more full reviews, visit

  • Alan

    Review of the Audible Audio edition.

    I've been a fan of Anne Lamott's world-weary but hopeful wisdom since her writing memoir "Bird by Bird." Her annual musings have become a standard for me and there are always experiences and observations that come through as starkly true and immediately identifiable that cut right to the bone.

    I'm giving it a 3 star rating only because on audio it sometimes comes across as a bit too weary and tired whereas I think on the page it would read as more inspirational

    Review of the Audible Audio edition.

    I've been a fan of Anne Lamott's world-weary but hopeful wisdom since her writing memoir "Bird by Bird." Her annual musings have become a standard for me and there are always experiences and observations that come through as starkly true and immediately identifiable that cut right to the bone.

    I'm giving it a 3 star rating only because on audio it sometimes comes across as a bit too weary and tired whereas I think on the page it would read as more inspirational and hopeful. Probably a print edition would get a 4 star rating as seems to be the average from the other Lamott readers here.

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